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The exact number of deaths from the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will never be known, but at least 103,000 died from the immediate blast or the effects of radiation sickness, according to the World Nuclear Organization.
For these and other reasons, the city was selected as the first target of an atomic bomb attack. 6, a B-29 airplane named Enola Gay (after the mother of its pilot, Colonel Paul Tibbets) took off from Tinian, an island roughly six hours from Hiroshima by air.
Inside the Enola Gay's bomb bay was "Little Boy."At a.m., the Enola Gay's bay doors opened and "Little Boy" was dropped over Hiroshima.
However, no long-term genetic damage has been reported among the survivor's children, who are subject to ongoing screening.
After the victors' initial celebrations quieted down, there was profound soul-searching by most of the people involved in the decision to use atomic weaponry.
In 1942, just months after the United States entered World War II, a secret program, the Manhattan Project was created under the command of Brigadier General Leslie Groves and the scientific direction of J. British and American scientists began developing a new kind of weapon, an atomic bomb.
By July 1945 the weapons were ready to be used against the one remaining Axis nation, Japan (the war in Europe ended with the surrender of Germany on May 8, 1945).
The hilly terrain of Nagasaki — and the fact that the bomb was dropped almost 2 miles (3.2 km) from its intended target — prevented greater destruction.
Nonetheless, by the end of 1945, about 80,000 people died from the bomb over Nagasaki.
The devastation wrought by two just two bombs was unprecedented in human history, and the debate over the use of nuclear weapons remains relevant to this day."Yesterday man unleashed the atom to destroy man, and another chapter in human history opened, a chapter in which the weird, the strange, the horrible becomes the trite and obvious," wrote a New York Times correspondent one day after the Hiroshima bombing.
Alarmed by the use of atomic weaponry, many of the scientists responsible for the Manhattan Project organized as the Federation of Atomic Scientists, an organization that continues to work against nuclear proliferation.